The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council later this month will hear arguments in a hearing concerning McLaren and their role in lying to stewards during and after the Australian Grand Prix. Part of the evidence being assembled are the radio transcripts and now BBC interviews in which Martin Whitmarsh commented on the situation immediately following the race. It was an interview with US channel Speed TV that Lewis gave which may have been part of a the evidence that tipped the FIA off to suspect happenings by the McLaren team. The interviews were described by Autosport as :
In a live interview with BBC Radio 5 shortly after the Melbourne race, Whitmarsh said: “Under the last safety car, Trulli’s Toyota fell off the circuit and was on the grass. Lewis passed him as he could legitimately do so, and thereafter Trulli repassed under the safety car and the early indications from the stewards were that they felt that was incorrect. They are doing the full investigation as we speak and we will shortly learn if it is a third or a fourth place.”
In another interview that Whitmarsh is alleged to have conducted with BBC pitlane reporter Ted Kravitz, it is suggested he said: “Trulli then retook the place under the safety car, which ordinarily you wouldn’t do. I know that the FIA are looking at it at the moment.”
Now this may just be me but it seems the FIA are seeking information to hang Martin with as well. Exonerate Lewis for his heart-felt mea culpa but go after the team, team principles and managers individually to tear down the cover up. Political move? Probably not but they are assembling all the evidence they can to prove McLaren willing lied (as if that is in questions at this point). They obviously are not happy with the political move of firing Dave Ryan so he is no longer a party to the situation and can choose not to participate with the hearings (nice one Ron). Looking at Martin’s comments may show intent or hidden meaning but that will be hard to prove. Ultimately they lied, implicated Toyota and Jarno Trulli and took advantage of the stewards call that was errant based upon what McLaren knew to be the truth. Overkill? You be the judge.
In my opinion, as echoed by Grace, we have had some exciting racing this year so far with real surprises and upsets and yet we are all focused on Max’s kangaroo court antics to hang McLaren for lying. Are race bans good for F1 at this point? Will making an example of McLaren, again, make a big difference tot he year or sport? did McLaren bring the sport into disrepute or did Max already do that last year? I suppose time will tell but as a Ferrari fan, I think this has become a dark shadow on an otherwise good year. Leave it to F1 to soil their pants in the wake of good racing.